Formula One

McLaren ‘happy, not entirely happy’ with launch-spec MCL60


McLaren’s new team principal Andrea Stella says that the squad has made significant progress with its 2023 contender, which was unveiled on Monday.

However he cautioned fans for getting too excited, and admitted that there was still plenty to do to bring the MCL60 up to full competitiveness and that some finishing touches may not be in place until Azerbaijan at the end of April.

The car has been designed under the leadership of Technical Director James Key, and produced by the team at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking led by Operations Director Piers Thynne.

It will be powered by the Mercedes-AMG F1 M14 E Performance power unit integrated into the McLaren chassis and gearbox with support from Mercedes HPP in Brixworth.

“Together with our colleagues at Mercedes HPP, we can take great pride in our strong collaboration in the realisation of the MCL60 and in the joined efforts to the pursuit of moving back up the grid,” said Stella.

“We are aware we have work to do as we enter the 2023 season, but everyone in the team is totally focused and committed to making our 60th anniversary year a special one.

“Assessing our performance last year and looking at comparing those, we identified multiple areas of opportunities,” continued Stella, who took over as team boss from Andreas Seidl over the winter.

“The good news is that pretty much all of them have been addressed. I wouldn’t want to be too specific, but certainly they have to do predominantly with aerodynamics.

“Aerodynamics is the name of the game in F1 so no mystery,” he explained. “But there’s some areas, for instance in terms of interaction with the tyres, where there’s some work that we needed to do. And this was done over the winter.

© McLaren

“There’s some other areas of the car that will be improved by developments in the early stage of the season,” he added.

“While we are happy with the development of the car in most of the areas, there’s some areas in which we kind of realised a little late in development, some really strong directions.

“So not necessarily we have been able to capitalise on this direction in the very short term,” he admitted. “That’s why also I talk about the developments coming after the start of the season.

“In terms of development, [upgrades will arrive] hopefully a couple of months into the season, hopefully less,” he said. “This may coincide with race four. We will see how rapidly we can get this project to land.

“In this sense, I just invoke realism,” he stated. “So we are happy, not entirely happy for what is the launch car, but optimistic that we should take a good step soon.”

Last year McLaren was pipped to fourth place in the constructors championship by Alpine. Asked whether he felt the team could return to its status as ‘best of the rest’ after the Big Three teams, Stalla was cautious in his predictions.

“It’s always difficult to translate what you see over the winter in terms of development to where you’re going to be in terms of pecking order,” he said.

“Normally you need to be totally happy and totally at the top of what you can do to achieve your targets,” he added. “In a way it’s more relative to ourselves, but it’s such a competitive game.”

As for his new role at the team, Stella was looking forward to getting the season underway

“It’s an honour to lead McLaren Racing into the team’s 60th anniversary season. We have a committed and talented group of people at McLaren.

“We are all looking forward to taking the MCL60 racing after the hard work and the efforts over the last months in all areas of the team.”

The MCL60 will take to the track for the start of three days of pre-season testing between february 23-25 at Bahrain International Circuit, before the first race of the season at the same venue on March 5.

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McLaren ‘happy, not entirely happy’ with launch-spec MCL60

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